WASHINGTON — Excitement over a recently released update to the wildly popular Call of Duty video game franchise turned to confusion and worry this week as thousands of gamers discovered that they had unexpectedly enlisted in the army. It turns out that Activision, in coordination with the U.S. Army, tucked the military’s Oath of Enlistment into the game’s Terms of Service (TOS), which 99.9 percent of Americans simply acknowledge without review in order to get to the gameplay.
The new game, called 4-Year Commitment, begins with an exciting montage of combat and rock music. Interestingly, scattered throughout scenes of gunfire and explosions are occasional references to the G.I. Bill and “competitive pay.” After the introduction, the player is presented with the Terms of Service dialogue box.
“Nobody ever reads that stuff,” admitted new trainee Devon Jones. “I just selected ‘ACCEPT’ like I do with any game. Then there was a screen that required me to verbally ‘swear or affirm’ a bunch of stuff. I thought it was just a cool mood-setting device. But I knew something was wrong when a medical team came to my home the next day to stick fingers up my butt.”
“That just doesn’t happen on most of my Tuesdays.”
Although the program is considered a trial initiative, early results were promising, according to Col. David Macintyre of the US Army’s Recruiting Command.
“We realized not too long ago that there’s a dedicated COD community that loves the increasing realism of every iteration of the game. So we figured, hey, they’re gonna love this.”
When asked if this program was ethical, Macintyre shrugged. “Hey, caveat emptor, ‘let the buyer beware.’ These people are big boys and girls—half of them, anyway. They should pay attention to the details of any contract.”
While the Army is publicly optimistic about the program, there are questions about the quality of the new recruits. Many are under the age of 18, and of those old enough to enlist, nearly half are overweight or ineligible for military service.
“Not a problem,” said Macintyre. “We have a deal to send those guys to the Air Force and Navy. These COD recruits aren’t getting out that easy.”